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Network Working Group J. Halpern, Ed. Request for Comments: 5377 Self Category: Informational November 2008

              Advice to the Trustees of the IETF Trust
             on Rights to Be Granted in IETF Documents

Status of This Memo

 This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
 not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
 memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

 Copyright (c) 2008 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
 document authors.  All rights reserved.
 This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
 Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
 ( in effect on the date of
 publication of this document.  Please review these documents
 carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
 to this document.


 Contributors grant intellectual property rights to the IETF.  The
 IETF Trust holds and manages those rights on behalf of the IETF.  The
 Trustees of the IETF Trust are responsible for that management.  This
 management includes granting the licenses to copy, implement, and
 otherwise use IETF Contributions, among them Internet-Drafts and
 RFCs.  The Trustees of the IETF Trust accepts direction from the IETF
 regarding the rights to be granted.  This document describes the
 desires of the IETF regarding outbound rights to be granted in IETF

Halpern Informational [Page 1] RFC 5377 Outbound Rights Advice November 2008

Table of Contents

 1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
 2.  Purpose in Granting Rights  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
 3.  Powers and Authority  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
 4.  Recommended Grants of Right to Copy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   4.1.  Rights Granted for Reproduction of RFCs . . . . . . . . . . 5
   4.2.  Rights Granted for Quoting from IETF Contributions  . . . . 5
   4.3.  Rights Granted for Implementing Based on IETF
         Contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   4.4.  Rights Granted for Use of Text from IETF Contributions  . . 6
   4.5.  Additional Licenses for IETF Contributions  . . . . . . . . 6
 5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
 6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
 7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

1. Introduction

 Under the current operational and administrative structures, IETF
 intellectual property rights are vested in the IETF Trust
 administered by a board of trustees made up of the members of the
 IAOC [RFC4371].  This includes the right to make use of IETF
 Contributions, as granted by Contributors under the rules laid out in
 [RFC5378].  The Trustees of the IETF Trust are therefore responsible
 for defining the rights to copy granted by the IETF to people who
 wish to make use of the material in these documents.
 For consistency and clarity, this document uses the same terminology
 laid out in [RFC5378] and uses the same meanings as defined in that
 The IETF Trust, by way of its Trustees, has indicated, as is
 consistent with the IETF structure, that it will respect the wishes
 of the IETF in regard to what these granted rights ought to be.  It
 is therefore the IETF's responsibility to articulate those wishes.
 This document represents the wishes of the IETF regarding the rights
 granted to all users in regard to IETF Contributions, until it is

2. Purpose in Granting Rights

 In providing a description of the wishes of the IETF with regard to
 rights granted in RFCs, it is helpful to keep in mind the purpose of
 granting such rights.

Halpern Informational [Page 2] RFC 5377 Outbound Rights Advice November 2008

 The mission of the IETF is to produce documents that make the
 Internet work better (see [RFC3935] for more details).  These
 documents, when completed, are published as RFCs.
 An important subclass of RFCs is standards describing protocols; for
 these, the primary value to the Internet is the ability of
 implementors to build solutions (products, software, etc.) that
 interoperate using these standards.  Hence, the IETF has a strong
 interest in seeing accurate, interoperable implementations of the
 material the IETF publishes.  The IETF Trust grants rights to copy to
 people to make use of the text in the RFCs in order to encourage
 accurate and interoperable implementations.
 As early implementations from Internet-Drafts make use of
 descriptions in those Internet-Drafts, similar desires apply to
 Similar considerations also apply to non-standard, non-protocol
 documents such as BCP (Best Current Practice) and Informational
 documents; in this document, we recommend a common approach to the
 issue of right-to-use licenses for all IETF documents.
 Previous documents regarding rights in IETF documents have included
 in the RFC text specific text to be used to achieve the stated goals.
 This has proved problematic.  When problems are found with such text,
 even when the problem is not a change in intent, it is necessary to
 revise the RFC to fix the problem.  At best, this delays fixing legal
 issues that need prompt attention.  As such, this document describes
 the IETF desires to the Trustees of the IETF Trust, but does not
 provide the specific legal wording to address the goals.  The
 selection, and updating as necessary, of legal wording is left to the
 Trustees of the IETF Trust.  Appeals of the actions of the Trustees
 of the IETF Trust are governed by other documents.  As the Trustees
 are the members of the IAOC, the appeals procedure documented in BCP
 101 (currently [RFC4371]) is applicable.

3. Powers and Authority

 As described in the introduction, and formally specified in
 [RFC5378], the legal authority for determining and granting users
 rights to copy material in RFCs and other IETF Contributions rests
 with the Trustees for the IETF Trust, which is made up of the members
 of the IAOC, as described in [RFC4071] and [RFC4371].  This document
 provides guidance to that body, based on the rough consensus of the
 IETF.  The Trustees of the IETF Trust have the authority and
 responsibility to determine the exact text insertions (or other
 mechanisms), if any, needed in Internet-Drafts, RFCs, and all IETF

Halpern Informational [Page 3] RFC 5377 Outbound Rights Advice November 2008

 Contributions to meet these goals.  The IETF Trust License Policy is
 available from
 The rough consensus described in this document reflects the agreement
 of the IETF as of the IETF Last Call, and the Trustees of the IETF
 Trust are to begin drafting license text and other materials to act
 on these instructions upon IESG approval of this document for RFC
 publication.  Changes to the IETF documentation, and document
 policies themselves, take effect as determined by the Trustees of the
 IETF Trust.
 This document does not specify what rights the IETF Trust receives
 from others in IETF Contributions.  That is left to another document
 ([RFC5378]).  While care has been taken by the working group in
 developing this document, and care will be taken by the Trustees of
 the IETF Trust, to see that sufficient rights are granted to the IETF
 Trust in IETF Contributions, it is also the case that the Trust can
 not grant rights it has not or does not receive, and it is expected
 that policies will be in line with that fact.  Similarly, the rights
 granted for pre-existing documents can not be expanded unless the
 holders of rights in those Contributions choose to grant expanded
 rights.  Nonetheless, to the degree it can, and without embarking on
 a massive effort, it is desirable if similar rights to those
 described below can be granted in older RFCs.

4. Recommended Grants of Right to Copy

 The IETF grants rights to copy and modify parts of IETF Contributions
 in order to meet the objectives described earlier.  As such,
 different circumstances and different parts of documents may need
 different grants.  This section contains subsections for each such
 different grant that is currently envisioned.  Each section is
 intended to describe a particular usage, to describe how that usage
 is recognizable, and to provide guidance to the Trustees of the IETF
 Trust as to what rights the IETF would like to see granted in that
 circumstance and what limitations should be put on such granting.
 These recommendations for outgoing rights are structured around the
 assumptions documented in [RFC5378].  Thus, this document is about
 granting rights derived from those granted to the IETF Trust.  The
 recommendations below are how those granted rights should in turn be
 passed on to others using IETF documents in ways and for purposes
 that fit with the goals of the IETF.  This discussion is also
 separate from discussion of the rights the IETF itself requires in
 documents to do its job, as those are not "outbound" rights.  It is
 expected that the rights granted to the IETF will be a superset of
 those copying rights we wish to grant to others.

Halpern Informational [Page 4] RFC 5377 Outbound Rights Advice November 2008

4.1. Rights Granted for Reproduction of RFCs

 It has long been IETF policy to encourage copying of RFCs in full.
 This permits wide dissemination of the material, without risking loss
 of context or meaning.  The IETF wishes to continue to permit anyone
 to make full copies and translations of RFCs.

4.2. Rights Granted for Quoting from IETF Contributions

 There is rough consensus that it is useful to permit quoting without
 modification of excerpts from IETF Contributions.  Such excerpts may
 be of any length and in any context.  Translation of quotations is
 also to be permitted.  All such quotations should be attributed
 properly to the IETF and the IETF Contribution from which they are

4.3. Rights Granted for Implementing Based on IETF Contributions

 IETF Contributions often include components intended to be directly
 processed by a computer.  Examples of these include ABNF definitions,
 XML Schemas, XML DTDs, XML RelaxNG definitions, tables of values,
 MIBs, ASN.1, and classical programming code.  These are included in
 IETF Contributions for clarity and precision in specification.  It is
 clearly beneficial, when such items are included in IETF
 Contributions, to permit the inclusion of such code components in
 products that implement the Contribution.  It has been pointed out
 that in several important contexts, use of such code requires the
 ability to modify the code.  One common example of this is simply the
 need to adapt code for use in specific contexts (languages,
 compilers, tool systems, etc.)  Such use frequently requires some
 changes to the text of the code from the IETF Contribution.  Another
 example is that code included in open source products is frequently
 licensed to permit any and all of the code to be modified.  Since we
 want this code included in such products, it follows that we need to
 permit such modification.  While there has been discussion of
 restricting in some way the rights to make such modifications, the
 rough consensus of the IETF is that such restrictions are likely a
 bad idea, and are certainly very complex to define.
 As such, the rough consensus is that the IETF Trust is to grant
 rights such that code components of IETF Contributions can be
 extracted, modified, and used by anyone in any way desired.  To
 enable the broadest possible extraction, modification, and usage, the
 IETF Trust should avoid adding software license obligations beyond
 those already present in a Contribution.  The granted rights to
 extract, modify, and use code should allow creation of derived works
 outside the IETF that may carry additional license obligations.  As
 the IETF Trust can not grant rights it does not receive, the rights

Halpern Informational [Page 5] RFC 5377 Outbound Rights Advice November 2008

 to extract, modify, and use code described in this paragraph can not
 be granted in IETF Contributions that are explicitly marked as not
 permitting derivative works.
 While it is up to the Trustees of the IETF Trust to determine the
 best way of meeting this objective, two mechanisms are suggested here
 that are believed to be helpful in documenting the intended grant to
 readers and users of IETF Contributions.
 Firstly, the Trustees of the IETF Trust should maintain, in a
 suitable, easily accessible fashion, a list of common RFC components
 that will be considered to be code.  To start, this list should
 include at least the items listed above.  The Trustees of the IETF
 Trust will add to this list as they deem suitable or as they are
 directed by the IETF.
 Additionally, the Trustees of the IETF Trust should define a textual
 representation to be included in an IETF Contribution to indicate
 that a portion of the document is considered by the authors (and
 later, the working group, and upon approval, the IETF) to be code and
 thus subject to the permissions granted to use code.

4.4. Rights Granted for Use of Text from IETF Contributions

 There is no consensus at this time to permit the use of text from
 RFCs in contexts where the right to modify the text is required.  The
 authors of IETF Contributions may be able and willing to grant such
 rights independently of the rights they have granted to the IETF by
 making the Contribution.

4.5. Additional Licenses for IETF Contributions

 There have been contexts where the material in an IETF Contribution
 is also available under other license terms.  The IETF wishes to be
 able to include content that is available under such licenses.  It is
 desirable to indicate in the IETF Contribution that other licenses
 are available.  It would be inappropriate and confusing if such
 additional licenses restricted the rights the IETF intends to grant
 in the content of RFCS.
 However, the IETF does not wish to have IETF Contributions contain
 additional licenses, as that introduces a number of additional
 difficulties.  Specifically, additional text in the document, and any
 additional license referred to by permitted additional text, must not
 in any way restrict the rights the IETF intends to grant to others
 for using the contents of IETF Contributions.

Halpern Informational [Page 6] RFC 5377 Outbound Rights Advice November 2008

 Authors of Contributions retain all rights in their Contributions.
 As such, an author may directly grant any rights they wish separately
 from what the IETF grants.  However, a reader wishing to determine or
 make use of such grants will need to either consult external sources
 of information, possibly including open source code and documents, or
 contact the author directly.

5. IANA Considerations

 No values are assigned in this document, no registries are created,
 and there is no action assigned to the IANA by this document.  One
 list (of kinds of code sections) is anticipated, to be created and
 maintained by the Trustees of the IETF Trust.  It is up to the
 Trustees of the IETF Trust whether they create such a list and
 whether they choose to involve the IANA in maintaining that list.

6. Security Considerations

 This document introduces no new security considerations.  It is a
 process document about the IETF's IPR rights being granted to other
 people.  While there may be attacks against the integrity or
 effectiveness of the IETF processes, this document does not address
 such issues.

7. References

7.1. Normative References

 [RFC5378]  Bradner, S., Ed. and J. Contreras, Ed., "Rights
            Contributors Provide to the IETF Trust", BCP 78, RFC 5378,
            November 2008.

7.2. Informative References

 [RFC3935]  Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF",
            BCP 95, RFC 3935, October 2004.
 [RFC4071]  Austein, R. and B. Wijnen, "Structure of the IETF
            Administrative Support Activity (IASA)", BCP 101,
            RFC 4071, April 2005.
 [RFC4371]  Carpenter, B. and L. Lynch, "BCP 101 Update for IPR
            Trust", BCP 101, RFC 4371, January 2006.

Halpern Informational [Page 7] RFC 5377 Outbound Rights Advice November 2008

Author's Address

 Joel M. Halpern (editor)
 P. O. Box 6049
 Leesburg, VA  20178

Halpern Informational [Page 8]

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